Almost Forty Anti-torture Activists Arrested at White House

For Immediate Release

Contact: 

Frida Berrigan, frida.berrigan@gmail.com, 347 683 4928
Matt Daloisio, daloisio@earthlink.net, 201 264 4424

Almost Forty Anti-torture Activists Arrested at White House

Message to Obama: No Guantanamo, No Bagram, No NDAA!!

WASHINGTON - Thirty-seven members of Witness Against Torture were arrested in front of the White House on Thursday, January 12 around three this afternoon. Dressed in the iconic Guantanamo orange jumpsuits and black hoods and accompanied by a cage representing indefinite detention, the activists were warned to clear the sidewalk by National Park Police or risk arrest. After occupying the sidewalk for more than three hours, they were arrested one by one.

“We came to the White House because just eleven days ago, President Obama signed the National Defense Authorization Act. It is dead wrong,” says Leah Grady Sayvetz, an activist and college student form Ithaca, New York arrested this afternoon. “The NDAA makes Guantanamo near-permanent and expands detention powers just when this terrible and immoral detention apparatus should be being dismantled.”

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Witness Against Torture took the cage to the White House on Saturday, January 7 and began a twenty-four hour a day vigil that ended on January 11 at the end of the Ten Years Too Many National Day of Action to Shut Down Guantanamo.

Witness Against Torture, a grassroots movement to shut down Guantanamo, is completing a ten day “Hungering for Justice” liquids-only fast today. About one hundred people—in DC and around the country—participated in the fast and engaged in daily actions in front of the White House, and elsewhere to call attention to the terrible injustice that is Guantanamo, Bagram, and secret prisons.

 

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Witness Against Torture is a grassroots movement that came into being in December 2005 when 24 activists walked to Guantanamo to visit the prisoners and condemn torture policies. Since then, it has engaged in public education, community outreach, and non-violent direct action. For the first 100 days of the Obama administration, the group held a daily vigil at the White House, encouraging the new President to uphold his commitments to shut down Guantanamo.

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